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UK mortgage approvals hit six-month low in September – UK Finance

The number of new mortgages approved by British banks hit a six-month low in September, according to a survey that adds to signs the housing market is slowing again ahead of the October Brexit deadline.

Industry body UK Finance said banks approved 42,310 loans for home purchase in September, compared with 42,527 in August, according to seasonally-adjusted data. However, the number of approvals for remortgaging rose to the highest level since November 2017 at 32,649.

UK Finance said annual growth in consumer credit rose to a 19-month high of 4.5%, driven by personal loans and overdrafts rather than credit card lending.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken

Source: UK Reuters

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UK mortgage approvals hit two-year high in July as market stabilises – BoE

British lenders approved the greatest number of mortgages in two years during July, adding to signs the housing market has stabilised from its pre-Brexit slowdown, official data showed on Friday.

The Bank of England said lenders approved 67,306 mortgages, up from 66,506 in June and more than any economist predicted in a Reuters poll that had pointed to 66,167 approvals for July.

Britain’s housing market has sagged since the 2016 Brexit referendum – especially in London and neighbouring areas – but has shown signs of a tentative recovery in recent months.

Earlier on Friday mortgage lender Nationwide said house price growth in annual terms inched up to a three-month high in August, although remained weak by recent standards.

The BoE said net mortgage lending rose by 4.611 billion pounds in July, the biggest increase since March 2016, while consumer lending increased by 0.897 billion pounds compared with a forecast rise of 1.0 billion pounds on the month.

Lending to businesses fell by 4.218 billion pounds last month, the sharpest fall since August 2017. While the series is volatile, the severity of the fall could be another sign of nerves in British companies as the Brexit crisis escalates.

Earlier on Friday Lloyds Bank said business confidence fell in August to its lowest level since late 2011.

Source: UK Reuters

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U.K. Mortgage Approvals Jump to Highest in More Than Two Years

Demand for mortgages jumped last month to the highest since early 2017, according to data published Monday.

Loans for house purchases rose almost 11% from a year earlier to a seasonally adjusted 43,342, lobby group UK Finance said. The report covers seven high street banks representing around 60% of total mortgage lending, data on which are due to be published by the Bank of England on Aug. 30.

Meanwhile, credit card spending was 8.2% higher than it July 2018, while borrowing grew by 3.8% in the year. Spending hit a record 12 billion pounds in the month, while repayments reached a record. UK Finance said this shows that consumers are “managing their finances effectively overall.”

By David Goodman

Source: Bloomberg

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UK mortgage approvals rise but consumer lending slows

Britain’s housing market received a modest lift in June as mortgage approvals increased by more than analysts had expected, Bank of England figures showed today.

Annual lending growth to UK consumers slowed from 5.7 per cent in May to 5.5 per cent in June, however, the slowest rate since April 2014.

The number of people taking out mortgages increased by around 800 in June to 66,400 from 65,650 in May. This was the highest number since January and above economists’ expectations of 65,750.

Brexit uncertainty has weighed on house prices in 2019, particularly in London where official figures showed they dropped 4.4 per cent in May year on year, pleasing first-time buyers but upsetting homeowners.

“June’s mortgage data tie in with the view that housing market activity got some help from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March, but the overall benefit has been relatively limited,” said Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club.

The closely-watched housing survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) for June showed a “very modest” rise in buyer demand.

Net lending to UK consumers rose by £1bn in June, higher than analysts’ expectations. Yet this was below June 2018’s £1.4bn figure, and annual consumer credit growth slowed to a 5-year low.

“The overall slowdown in consumer credit growth has clearly been significantly affected by markedly weaker private car sales as this has reduced demand for car finance,” said Archer.

Consumer spending has been a bright spot in the UK economy in 2019 as trade and business investment have suffered from political uncertainty. However, there are signs it is slowing.

A CBI survey showed retail sales fell at the fastest pace in over 10 years in June, due in part to the warm weather and football world cup a year earlier.

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM

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UK mortgage approvals hit two-year high following Brexit extension

The number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in the UK reached a two-year high in April, a survey showed today, suggesting the country’s housing market may be recovering from a recent slowdown.

UK banks approved 42,989 mortgages in April, the highest figure since February 2017 on a seasonally adjusted basis, and up from 38,554 a year earlier, figures from data firm UK Finance showed.

The value of loans approved for house purchases by high street banks in April rose £1.32bn year on year, compared to a rise of £580m year on year in March.

Britain’s housing market has experienced a Brexit-induced slowdown in recent months as customers put off big purchases due to political uncertainty, despite consumer spending in other areas remaining resilient.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said: “April’s marked rise in mortgage approvals suggests that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March.”

“It may very well also be that the housing market has benefited from recent improved consumer purchasing power and robust employment growth,” he said.

The number of loans approved by high street banks for remortgaging rose £2.99bn in April compared to a year earlier, as homeowners continued to take advantage of record-low interest rates.

Figures from UK Finance also showed that spending on credit cards rose markedly in April to £11.16bn in seasonally adjusted terms, a rise of 8.8 per cent year on year.

UK Finance said: “This growth in spending reflects consumers’ increased preference for using credit cards as a means of payment, particularly online, because of purchase protection and card benefits.”

“Repayments have remained in line with credit card spending, showing overall that consumers are managing their finances effectively,” the firm said.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said it was “encouraging” that “people are using their credit cards sensibly,” meaning “credit card debt isn’t spiralling out of control while interest rates are low”.

Overall consumer lending grew 3.8 per cent in April compared to a year earlier, a slight slowdown from March’s growth rate of 4.1 per cent.

Howard Archer said: “While consumers have clearly been less affected by Brexit concerns than businesses, the overall impression remains that they have nevertheless become more careful in their borrowing amid concerns over the economic outlook.”

The amount Britons saved in ISAs and accounts which require notice to withdraw money fell in April, while instant access saving grew.

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM

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UK mortgage approvals show first annual rise in 14 months – UK Finance

A decline in the number of mortgages approved by British high-street banks flattened out last month, with the first year-on-year rise since September 2017, figures from industry group UK Finance showed on Friday.

Britain’s housing market has slowed since the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, and other surveys this month have shown anxiety among consumers and businesses ahead of the planned departure on March 29.

Friday’s data showed British banks approved 39,403 mortgages for house purchase in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 39,640 in October but up by 0.2 percent from November 2017 — the first annual rise in 14 months.

“The housing market is struggling for momentum in the face of still relatively limited consumer purchasing power, fragile consumer confidence and, possibly, wariness over higher interest rates,” Howard Archer, chief economist at consultants EY ITEM Club, said.

Many economists expect house prices to be flat or marginally higher next year, as weakness in London and surrounding areas weighs on faster price growth in other parts of Britain, though the Bank of England has said falls of as much as a third are possible if Brexit descends into chaos.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government plans to seek parliamentary approval for her Brexit deal in the week starting Jan. 14, after scrapping a vote before Christmas due to opposition from lawmakers of all parties.

Without a deal, Britain faces major economic disruption from the reintroduction of tariffs and customs checks at its borders.

UK Finance said credit card lending picked up slightly last month, though this mostly reflected a shift in preferred payment means rather than higher borrowing, with credit cards offering better consumer protection for purchases such as holiday travel.

Net lending to non-financial businesses fell by the most since May, dropping by 656 million pounds ($829 million).

“Overall lending to businesses has remained subdued in this period of economic uncertainty,” UK Finance’s managing director for commercial finance, Stephen Pegge, said.

The Bank of England will publish November mortgage and consumer credit data from a wider range of lenders on Jan. 4.

Source: UK Reuters